Embracing the gift of learning: Catholic Education Week

It does not happen very often, but when it does – it is sheer joy to witness. Pedantic sounding phrases like ‘collaborative inquiry’ or ‘differentiated instruction’ are pale shadows set against the dazzling colors, sights, sounds and wonder of real learning.

In such a magical place, students are truly engaged, not so much with shiny new tools, as with how those tools are used to effectively create the conditions for the miracle of learning to occur.

Welcome to Rolland Chidiac’s learning environment, where the world and its boundless lessons are one vast inviting sandbox.

My personal journey with Rolland began a few years ago when I offered to let he and his students experiment with an iPod touch. Rolland reflected on this pilot in a May 2011 guest blog post. Since then, Rolland has more than heeded the words of the late Pope John Paul II, “Do not fear the new technologies”. Whatever the learning tool: pencil, iPod/iPad, interactive projector, livescribe pen, digital camera etc., Rolland has consistently and whole-heartedly embraced these wonderful gifts to humanity and the countless opportunities for learning they provide.

A leader and mentor in the integration of educational technology at his school, Our Lady of Fatima, Rolland models servant leadership. Like Christ who fed the multitudes with a few loaves and fishes, Rolland feeds his flock of students and teaching colleagues not with bread but with the simple joy and love of learning.

His recently accepted ministry of education-sponsored TLLP project (Teacher Learning & Leadership Program) involves leveraging technology (iPADs) to increase and enrich the learning experiences of autistic learners at his school.

Like pearls, learning experiences of this quality are inspirational and rare. That I have been able to be part of Rolland’s wondrous journey is indeed a gift.

Rolland continues to collaborate with his peers and share his learning experiences with a growing audience via his The Digital Citizen blog  and Twitter PLN via @RChids.

Related links:

The Digital Citizen blog

The Rapid Development – Apostolic Letter by Pope John Paul II

Photo Credit:
Atlas, it’s time for your bath by Woodley Wonderworks Photostream